Big changes are coming to the police department in the New Year.
Following up on the pledge made in the PUP's Plan Belize Manifesto the GSU is being disbanded well, sorta, more like it's being re-branded.
But, true to the political promise, starting tomorrow, there will no longer be a Gang Suppression Unit.
Instead, the unit will now be called the GI3 the abbreviation for the Gang Intelligence, Investigation, and Interdiction Unit. And it's not just a change of name. The new unit will incorporate the Anti-Gang Task Force which is also being disbanded and re-incorporated under the GI3. It will be under the leadership of Senior Superintendent Linden Flowers - a veteran commander considered a steady hand.
And while a brief press release did not provide details, we expect the unit will still be a hard charging, paramilitary type unit - one that is operationally, tactically and personnel - wise considered a notch above other units.
An internal police memo from the COMPOL says "The next few weeks will see the transition and redeployment of personnel and equipment from the GSU and AGTF into the unit," - which suggests to us that many of the personnel will remain. And, so, while it is a change in name mostly, it kind of has to be, because the brand is so strong. Since its formation in 2011 under then commander Marco Vidal - the GSU had become the most recognised unit in the police, synonymous for rigorous, disciplined policing, prone to abuses and public outcries in its early years, yes, but also recognised as the no nonsense standard - a unit widely disliked, but feared and respected in gang ridden areas.
And in another major policing change, the Commissioner of Police has also created a new administrative region within the Eastern Division: it is called ED Region Four. It comprises all cayes and the commander is Superintendent Christopher Noble.
It's an upgrade for Noble who was able to reduce major crime significantly in San Pedro Town during his 18 months there. The island has seen only one murder in the past year and it was a crime of passion, not related to drug gangs - which had been driving homicides on the island for years.Channel 7